Revelation 20 and Amillennialism

This is not going to be an exhaustive post on Revelation 20, about which several forests have been demolished in trying to explain. I am merely going to argue for the amil position in Revelation 20. The key issue turns on whether Revelation 20:1-10 follows chronologically after 19:11-2, or whether it follows non-chronologically (following a sequence of visions). Here are the two best arguments that 20:1-10 follows a visionary sequence, and not a chronological sequence: 1. The battle in 19:11-21 destroys all the enemies of God. The beast (vs 20), the false prophet (vs 20), and all the rest (vv. 18 and 21) are thrown into the lake of fire. This battle is certainly the final climactic battle, the result of which is that all the enemies of God are destroyed. Well, if they are all destroyed, then who is left for Satan to deceive in 20:3? The terms of 19:11-21 are so final (especially the lake of fire imagery) that nothing is really left after that. Poythress explains how it is that anything follows literarily in the book: 

“In view of the structure of the whole book, it makes more sense to see 20:1-15 as the seventh and last cycle of judgments, each of which leads up to the Second Coming…Thus, 20:1-15 is to be seen as the seventh cycle leading to the Second Coming. It parallels all the other cycles, rather than representing a unique period chronologically later than any of the others” (The Returning King, pg. 179). 

In short, the premil position needs to explain why there are any people left for Satan to deceive in Revelation 20, if that chapter follows chronologically from chapter 19.

Secondly, 20:7-10 is clearly describing the same battle as 19:11-21. The quotations from Ezekiel 38-39 point clearly in the direction of Armaggedon in 20:7-10. But most commentators refer 19:11-21 also to Armageddon, in which case we have recapitulation (for a more extended defense of this position, see Beale’s excellent excursus on the relationship of 20:1-10 with 19:11-21, found on pp. 972-983 of his commentary). For an excellent article exhaustively dealing with the evidence for recapitulation in Revelation 20:1-15, see Fowler White in the Westminster Theological Journal 51.2 (1989), pp. 319-344.

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The Word and the Church

Roman Catholicism has always said that the Word of God gets its authority from the church: that the church ratifies the authority of the Word. The Reformers have always said that the authority of the Word is self-attesting, and that the authority of the church is derived from the authority of the Word, not vice versa. Here is a’Brakel on the matter:

If the Word derived its authority from the church, then we would have to hold the church in higher esteem than God Himself, for whoever gives credence and emphasis to someone’s words is superior to the person who speaks them. God has no superior and therefore no one is in a position to give authority to His words.